1. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Non-Disclosure Agreements

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ian J., Aug 26, 2014.

    Hi all,

    Can anyone who has any experience or knowledge of Non-Disclosure Agreements give me a 101? I would like to put one together, but short of paying expensive legal fees right off the bat I don't really know where to start.

    Thanks in advance,

    Ian
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    One place to start would be LegalZoom.
     
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  3. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    There are hundreds of them on Google ...
     
  4. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I know, I saw them and immediately had a 'heart attack' wondering just how reliable any of them are when there are that many...
     
  5. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    I guess it depends on who has put them on their sites. You need to go through some of them and look for reputable sites. Then look for ones that cover the topic you are involved in. Maybe it is an issue of IP, or maybe something else. By reading through a dozen or so you will get a feel for the kinds of issues that need to be covered.
    When you have a draft of something that you think covers all the bases then you might be able to find a lawyer through some friend or family connection that would 'look it over and make some comments' for nothing.
     
  6. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I hear what you're saying, but I think I'm up against a case of too much information leading to overload. Also, I wouldn't know what I was looking for really, as I don't have enough knowledge of NDAs to know. Hence my question here.

    However, having said all that, I think what I need is a mutual NDA geared to the publishing industry with respect to fiction writing. Finding one in amongst all that online tangle isn't going to be easy.
     
  7. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    Describing exactly what you want the NDA for would help us come up with more targeted examples. Are you trying to protect yourself, and from whom or what ?
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Check your home insurance (apologies, if you are a younger person living with someone else who sees to all the insurance side of things) As you are in England, some insurers offer legal help to their customers as part of their home insurance package, this legal help is not just to do with the home. We recently used the service through out insurers when my husband's employer decided to play silly beggers.

    They might not be able to help but asking won't cost you anything but time.
     
  9. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    The NDA is for the purpose of being able to discuss future story lines within a linked series of books with anyone who I might work with while writing the books. That could be friends, publishers, editors, agents, or anyone else.
     
  10. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    So you want to be able to discuss current and possible future works with people who could/might have an input into those works but you want to prevent them from discussing said works with anyone else.

    I'm thinking you might find it very difficult to get professionals to sign that kind of NDA and as for friends, if they are to have no input into the work then it might be more advisable to just not talk to them about your books.

    What you are writing may seem like the most important thing in the world to you, something that you want to fiercely guard and protect with your life but to your friends, it won't seem that important at all and will be very low down on their list of subjects that they discuss with their other friends. I also think you would be hard pressed to get a friend to sign anything like that.

    Saying that, it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with an NDA simply stating something like, I the undersigned hereby agree to not discuss anything relating to the author's (insert your name) current or future works with anyone except the author under any circumstances whatsoever (insert penalty here).
     
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  11. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    There are a couple of my friends who've said they would like to have an input of sorts on the process, mainly in the editing stage, but in order to understand some of my choices of story direction they'd need to know the long view of where I'm going, which essentially reveals plot twists of later stories. If they have that knowledge and blab* then those twists could be revealed too early. By signing a strict NDA I know they know that I'm serious and they need to be serious too.

    So despite the 99.9% probability that my novels will go nowhere, I'd rather be sure that I'm covered from the outset than simply not bother, just in case something good does happen with them.

    The same kind of NDA would be needed for potential professional agents, editors or publishers who might be interested in my books once they get going, but want to know more about the overall story direction before jumping in to the deep end.

    My main concern is that any NDA is legally watertight in whatever countries it needs to apply to. Just hoping that some general non-disclosure agreement style language will cover me isn't going to be enough.

    *Friends do blab. They talk carelessly to their wives, other friends, etc, telling them to keep the secret but wanting to spill the beans on what they know. The classic recent example is the J.K. Rowling / Robert Galbraith reveal.
     
  12. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I doubt very much if any professional of the type you mentioned would sign such an agreement anyway. Maybe you should ask one or more of them before going to too much trouble.

    Sorry, but I'd laugh at a friend who asked me to sign an NDA before he would discuss his possibly-never-to-be-published novel. My guess is that you're placing far too much value on what is just an idea. A very wise man used to say, "Ideas are a dime a dozen, looking for change."

    I would also consider the fact that an NDA doesn't prevent the people who sign it from disclosing your ideas. All it does is provide you with some legal recourse if they don't respect the agreement, assuming you're willing to expend the time and money to sue your friends for a minor betrayal.
     
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  13. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    Sorry Ian, but Stevesh is right. You are getting obsessed with 'ideas' and their value, as well as the importance of leakage. You would be 1,000 times better off spending this valuable time getting on with writing the book !
    The very concept of what you are planning in your mind is also a crazy one imho. Going around asking people to sign an NDA for a guy who has never written a book, never published a book. And as Stevesh says ... are you prepared to sue them ?
    You need to do two things now Ian:
    a) WRITE THE F....G BOOK NOW !
    b) Stop thinking about all of this stuff.
    c) When you have it written, THEN think about these issues.
     
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  14. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It also sounds more like you actually want a confidentiality agreement rather than an nda where professionals are concerned but, these are professionals you are dealing with. Do you honestly think that a publisher/agent is going to take your submission and pass it on to an author who's already on their books and get them to do a rewrite of your story?
     
  15. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    :rolleyes:

    So, instead of getting help with NDAs, regardless of why I ask for that help, you would prefer to destructively criticize me for why I want the NDA.

    Typical.
     
  16. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I'm not sure how my advice was "destructive". It's just one guy's opinion, take it or ignore it. If you consider "destructive criticism" to be "typical" on this forum, what the hell are you doing here?

    I occasionally see your attitude in another forum where I'm active, which is a support forum for a piece of open-source software, and I'll tell you the same thing I tell those people: Writing Forums isn't a Knowledge Base where you can ask questions and the rest of us dutifully spit out the answers you're looking for. It's a community, and sometimes the best answers to your question turn out to be advice about how what you're asking about isn't a good idea. Deal.

    You should probably be grateful that all the replies weren't, "Google it."

    I'll also say that I hope you're one king hell of a writer. Otherwise, if you're this thin-skinned about a meaningless forum thread, honest criticism of your work by the professionals you spoke of might well kill you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
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  17. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    This is just very very silly of you Ian. What people here are doing is trying to help you achieve what you want to achieve instead of wasting time on stuff that is not worth wasting time on.

    You say you want to write a book ? a series of books ? But you're not writing the book. By the time you do sit down and write it, and possibly ... just possibly ... publish it, someone else may have had the exactly same idea and all of that protection planning will have been wasted.

    Forums are not answer machines. When we ask questions we cannot lay down the law on what people are allowed to say in response. You have to take that as it comes.
     
  18. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    To be frank (because I'd rather not be Bill), coming up with an NDA is a horrible waste of time. No professional, editor or agent, is going to sign any NDA you come up with. They, and you, will sign the contract that governs your professional relationship. You won't get special treatment. You may get to negotiate some of the terms, but start telling an agent, "You have to sign my NDA," and he'll quickly decide you're too high maintenance to deal with and move on to another author.

    As for friends, you can't actually stop them from blabbing, even with a signed NDA.
     
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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Not at all!

    And just to let you in on a secret, I did actually think what I wrote earlier when I submitted my first fiction (part of the submission included a synopsis (albeit very short) of each chapter)!! First thing I thought was "OMG, They are going to give this to someone already on their books and get them to write their own version!"

    It took me a week to decide whether to submit or not.

    Previous to that, I'd got halfway through writing the book when I suddenly turned into a monster. NO ONE was allowed near me while I was writing, I backed up my files to USB every two HOURS and again before bed and the USB stick went everywhere with me. And I mean, everywhere. I think at one point, I actually turned into Golum, my USB was "my precious" and I guarded it fiercely because to me, it contained the best thing since sliced bread.

    One night, when it was time to backup, I wasn't quite looking what I was doing and pressed the wrong button, deleted EVERYTHING from the USB so the next morning, when I came to check the USB, it had nothing on it ... Well, if I'd have been a cat, I would have lost seven lives there and then. I was in a right state. I cried, and cried and cried!

    My husband ended up dragging me out of my little study and plying me with coffee, telling me we would sort it out and not to worry because I had emailed parts to test readers and could get them back. All I heard was blah blah blah, stupid stupid stupid.

    As it turned out, I had actually dropped the files into a different file on the laptop, not the USB. I found them all and backed up. That's when I realised how creepy I had got about someone stealing my ideas or releasing their book before me.

    Stupid really. But, you are not the first, and you won't be the last, to think that.
     
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  20. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Typical"? So, you feel the people here are typically destructive?

    My first response would then be, if you feel this way, why do you bother to visit this website? My second response is to acknowledge that this tends to show where you are in your development as a writer.

    As cutecat22 pointed out, most (if not all) beginning writers tend to go through a period of 'my work is the best thing ever written! I have to protect it from the prying eyes of those evil ones who would jealously seek to steal it and make it their own'.

    It may not make you feel any better but, at this very moment, there are probably anywhere between a dozen and a hundred or more other would-be famous authors working on a manuscript similar enough to your own to have been cut from the same template. And, as far as agents and publishers? They seriously have enough 'stuff' coming across their desks and through their e-mail that they do not need, nor do they really have time, to think about how they can risk their entire careers by stealing some novice writer's work and handing it over to some 'in-house' hack to re-write just to cut out the 'middle man'. And it would profit them nothing, since, in any case, they would have to pay for the work anyway and they truly would be risking their livelihood in the process.

    Have confidence in your work and be comforted by the realization that only you can write your story. Other people may be able to write something similar. Some may be better; some worse. But no one can write YOUR story but you. And it is up to you to make sure yours is better than anybody else's treatment of the same concept.

    It's better to focus on that and not waste emotional and physical energy on worrying about what someone else might do. You deserve better than that as a writer and a person.

    Ian, believe it or not, most people on these boards are really here to help and get help from like-minded individuals. Some are novices. Some have a great deal of experience to one degree or another. Many are published - moderately to extensively. There are a variety of skill sets and levels of knowledge. There is an abundance of help to be had here if you approach it with the right attitude.
     
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  21. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    HAH! :rofl:
    And just what's wrong with Bill? Well, except the fact that no one likes to see him coming in the mail! (He wouldn't, by any chance, be a Czech, would he?)
     
  22. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    :rofl:
     

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